Department of Environment and Conservation

The Triton Shell - An ecologically and culturally important species in serious danger of extinction.

These species need protection

Published: Wednesday, 19 November 2014 20:40
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Why should we protect endangered, threatened and endemic species?


Can you imagine walking in the forests on your own island without hearing birds in the trees, or seeing any beautiful orchid flowers flourishing in the forest? Our plants and wildlife make the world a more interesting and beautiful place.

More importantly, all living species, including people, depend on other species for survival. For example, if all mangrove species are widely destroyed in the world, all of the species that rely on it for food will also suffer and may become threatened or endangered.

We all depend upon plants and wildlife. From studying them, we have learned new ways of growing foods, making clothing, and building houses. Scientists have discovered how to use certain plants and animals as sources of medicines.

If we fail to protect endangered, threatened and endemic species, we will never know how they might have improved our lives.


The Worst Case Scenario: Extinction

There are many plants and animals that once lived on our planet and have become extinct. In Vanuatu examples include Land Crocodiles and Flightless Birds.

The main reason that many species are endangered or threatened today is because people have adversely changed their habitats upon which these species depend. A habitat includes not only the other plants and animals in an area, but is 'all of the things needed for the survival of a species', this includes sunlight and wind to food and shelter. Vanuatu has many habitats from ocean beaches to mountain tops.

Every species requires a certain habitat in order to live. A cactus for example, needs the sunny dry area in order to grow. A Santo Mountain Starling bird needs a cooler and mountain forest in order to survive.

Pollution can also affect wildlife and contribute to their extinction. Freshwater prawns in some rivers (such as parts of Sarakata River, Santo) are becoming threatened mainly because the rivers have been polluted by people living nearby. Pesticides and chemicals can poison plants and animals if they are not used correctly.

People can also endanger plants and animals by introducing new species into areas. Some of these species do so well in their new habitat that they endanger those already living there.

Another way that people harm animals and plants is by taking them from the wild. Some people might catch an insect such as a beautiful butterfly for a private collection. Others might capture a wild animal for a pet, or pick a flower because its pretty. In addition, some people illegally hunt animals for food or for aesthetic purposes